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Joanna, a young Englishwoman, leaves her home in the provinces and goes to London to study art. She soon befriends Hendrik Casson, one of her teachers, and Beryl, a beautiful black woman who lives off wealthy men and welfare. Following a short-lived affair with Hendrik, Joanna takes up with the impoverished Dominic while Beryl becomes involved with the wealthy Lord Peter Sanderson. The quartet visit Peter's home in Morocco, and the young lord tells Joanna that he is dying of leukemia and that his illness has taught him that everyone needs to be committed to others' lives in order to fulfill his own. Peter sponsors a showing of Hendrik's paintings, but he dies shortly after the opening. Meanwhile, Dominic breaks with Joanna because of her promiscuity. Following Peter's funeral, Joanna becomes the mistress of Beryl's brother Gordon, who owns a nightclub purchased with Peter's money. Because of trouble with the protection racket, Gordon gets mixed up in a gangland vendetta in which he is beaten savagely by gangsters. In getting revenge on the gang, Gordon kills one of them. Accused of murder, he tries to escape but is apprehended, tried, and sentenced to prison. Joanna, who is carrying his child, remembers Peter's words about commitment and decides against an abortion, preferring instead to return to her father's country home and await the birth of her child.